<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
The following list of Ten Mistakes to Avoid in thesis writing comes from ten years of experience in teaching thesis writing to graduate students in science and engineering at Rice University. The list is certainly applicable to thesis writers at other schools, however, and would also be helpful to those writing in other fields. Author: Dr. Janice L. Hewitt, Rice University

Not clearly identifying the precise focus of your research.

Too often writers fail to identify the focus of their research until several pages into the Introduction. Readers need to know up front, in the Abstract and in the Introduction, precisely what problem you are addressing and why. You must state a claim that summarizes what you identified as needing to be done and what you did to fill that need.

Not telling us why your work is important.

Why should any reader care about your research contribution? You must answer the question,“So what?”

Not clearly identifying and defending your choice of method(s) to solve the question addressed in your research.

You almost always have a choice of methods. Why did you choose the one(s) you did? Why not other available ones? You must justify your choice.

Not situating your work within the context of other work in the field.

All research in science and engineering is incremental, growing out of the research of others. You need to show how your work fits into closely related research and into the wider field. How does your research grow out of, improve, generalize, test, or newly implement the work of others?

Not clearly differentiating your work from that of others.

I have read many Literature Reviews in which it was not clear what had been done by others and what the student had contributed. Writing“It has been discovered that…”does not indicate that you have moved from discussing others’work to reporting on your own research. As we read a Literature Review, it should always be clear how your work links with the work of others, but it should also always be clear exactly which portions refer to your own research findings.

Not defining and defending all assumptions.

Every time you write“I assume…”you must defend and explain the reason for the assumption. If your basic assumptions are incorrect, your research will not be valid. Similarly, if you write that you limit your work to one aspect of a problem (to 1D simulations, for example), you must explain why that limitation is valid.

Not providing a suitable level of detail and explanation.

As you write the body chapters, remember that you now know more about this area of research than anybody else. I have never had a student’s advisor complain that the explanations were too clear; I have had many who complained that the writer assumed too much expert knowledge on the part of the reader. Think carefully about what terms, procedures, and results need to be explained. Identify and include steps that you might have left out because you were so familiar with them. Give enough detail about experiments so that they could be replicated. Use bulleted lists for easy reading. Put non-essential data and computer code into an Appendix.

Not clearly identifying your unique contribution(s).

Your unique contribution must be clear in the Abstract, the Introduction, and the Discussion/Conclusions section. Work hard on this—many a Job Talk has failed because the speaker failed to identify clearly and precisely his or her contribution to the field. And don’t say“we.”Give your advisor credit, but present the thesis or dissertation as your work. Your advisor already has a degree and a job.

Not identifying possible applications, either theoretical or practical.

You need to show that you know how your work can be applied in wider circumstances. Otherwise it may look as if your knowledge is more limited than it is. Colleges, universities, and corporations hire those who bring broad skill sets to a job, not those who appear limited to one narrow application.

Not proofreading for consistent headings, missing citations, gaps in your logic, missing words, grammatical errors, and spelling errors.

Ask someone to help you with proofreading because we all tend to see what we think is there. Don’t try to proofread for everything at the same time. Read through looking just at headings, then for errors in citation, then for gaps between paragraphs and sentences. If you have a manuscript full of errors, readers will tend to think that your research has also been poorly done.

Questions & Answers

What is the law of demand
Yaw Reply
price increase demand decrease...price decrease demand increase
ıf the price increase the demand decrease and if the demand increase the price decrease
all other things being equal, an increase in demand causes a decrease in supply and vice versa
how is the economy of usa now
What is demand
jude Reply
Demand is the quantity of goods and services a consumer is willing and able to purchase at various prices over a given period of time.
Okay congratulations I'll join you guys later .
calculate elasticity of income exercises
If potatoes cost Jane $1 per kilogram and she has $5 that could possibly spend on potatoes or other items. If she feels that the first kilogram of potatoes is worth $1.50, the second kilogram is worth$1.14, the third is worth $1.05 and subsequent kilograms are worth $0.30, how many kilograms of potatoes will she purchase? What if she only had $2 to spend?
Susan Reply
cause of poverty in urban
DAVY Reply
QI: (A) Asume the following cost data are for a purely competitive producer: At a product price Of $56. will this firm produce in the short run? Why Why not? If it is preferable to produce, what will be the profit-maximizing Or loss-minimizing Output? Explain. What economic profit or loss will the
Falak Reply
what is money
DAVY Reply
money is any asset that is generally acceptable for the exchange of goods and for the settlement of debts
what is economic
Stephen Reply
economics is the study of ways in which people use resources to satisfy their wants
what is Price mechanism
Dhany Reply
what is Economics
The study of resource allocation,distribution and consumption.
introduction to economics
Uday Reply
welfare definition of economics
examine the wealth and welfare definitions of economics
read book by ml jhingan
What do we mean by Asian tigers
Aeesha Reply
Dm me I will tell u
What is Average revenue
How are u doing
it is so fantastic
it is a group of 4 countries named Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong because their economies are growing very faster
Please, average revenue is an amount of money you gained after deducted your total expenditure from your total income.
what's a demand
Edward Reply
it is the quantity of commodities that consumers are willing and able to purchase at particular prices and at a given time
quantity of commodities dgat consumers are willing to pat at particular price
demand depends upon 2 things 1wish to buy 2 have purchasing power of that deserving commodity except any from both can't be said demand.
Demand is a various quantity of a commodities that a consumer is willing and able to buy at a particular price within a given period of time. All other things been equal.
State the law of demand
The desire to get something is called demand.
what is the use of something should pay for its opportunity foregone to indicate?
Random Reply
Why in monopoly does the firm maximize profits when its marginal revenue equals marginal cost
astrid Reply
different between economic n history
Falma Reply
in a comparison of the stages of meiosis to the stage of mitosis, which stages are unique to meiosis and which stages have the same event in botg meiosis and mitosis
Leah Reply
Researchers demonstrated that the hippocampus functions in memory processing by creating lesions in the hippocampi of rats, which resulted in ________.
Mapo Reply
The formulation of new memories is sometimes called ________, and the process of bringing up old memories is called ________.
Mapo Reply
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play

Source:  OpenStax, Becoming a professional scholar. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10871/1.2
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Becoming a professional scholar' conversation and receive update notifications?